The Cubs are one win away from playing in the National League championship series, following an 8-6 victory over the Cardinals Monday night. Can Chicago close the deal Tuesday?
Cards-Cubs NLDS Game 4 Odds
As of this writing the best MLB odds we could find on Chicago with Jason Hammel was the -115 offered at The Greek, while St. Louis with Cubs killer John Lackey was getting +115 at Pinnacle.
Chicago grabbed a 2-1 lead in this best-of-five NLDS with an 8-6 victory Monday night. The Cubs broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the fifth inning, and went on to blast six home runs, by six different players.
So the Cubbies, off this season as 10/1 shots to win the National League pennant, are now one victory away from their first league championship series since the Bartman fiasco of 12 seasons ago.
We whiffed on our free MLB pick on Monday's game with St. Louis, even though the Cardinals got to Chicago starter Jake Arrieta for four runs through five-plus innings. Unfortunately, Redbirds pitchers couldn't keep the damn ball in the ballpark.
The Cardinals now lead this season series 12 games to 10, with the OVERS going 12-7-1.
Game 4 Pitching Match-Up
Hammel (10-7, 3.74), by our strict standards, is just nine-for-31 on quality starts this season. Last time out, 12 days ago, he threw five scoreless innings against Cincinnati, but over his previous six outings he allowed 20 earned runs through 28 2/3 innings.
On the season Chicago, a team that finished 32 games above .500 overall, is only 15-16 in Hammel's starts, with the totals leaning OVER by a 16-15 margin.
In basically two starts this season against St. Louis Hammel gave up seven runs in 10 innings; the Cubs managed to split those two games.
Lackey (14-10, 2.68) started Game 1 of this series last Friday, and picked up the victory, throwing 7 1/3 innings of two-hit, shutout ball, walking none while whiffing five. He also only needed 86 pitches to get those 22 outs.
So over four starts this season against Chicago Lackey has allowed just three runs through 29 innings; St. Louis won all four of those games, with the UNDERS going a perfect 4-0.
The Cardinals are 18-16 in Lackey's starts this season, with the UNDERS going 18-15.
Game 4 Batting Splits
St. Louis ranked 13th in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .321 team on-base percentage, and 23rd with a .394 team slugging percentage.
Chicago ranked 12th against righties with a .321 team OBP and 19th with a .398 team slugging percentage.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Wrigley Field this season leaned UNDER by a 44-33 margin, as they averaged 7.8 runs per. But Monday night's game flew OVER a total of seven runs, as the teams combined to hit eight home runs.
St. Louis C Yadier Molina left Monday's game with that sore thumb of his, and is questionable for Tuesday. On the other side of the diamond Chicago SS Addison Russell tweaked a hammy Monday, also left the game and is also iffy for tonight.
NLDS Game 4 Free Picks
Lackey will pitch on short rest, but the guy is a horse, with a proven playoff track record. He's also been very tough on Chicago this season. And St. Louis is a sneaky bunch, capable of winning games in multiple ways. We fully expect the Cardinals to send this series back to Busch with a victory today.
MLB Pick: St. Louis +115 at Pinnacle